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Neuroscience. 1988 Mar;24(3):813-20.

Striatal grafts in rats with unilateral neostriatal lesions--III. Recovery from dopamine-dependent motor asymmetry and deficits in skilled paw reaching.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, U.K.


This study investigated the functional capacity of intrastriatal grafts of embryonic striatal tissue in rats with unilateral ibotenic acid lesions of the neostriatum. The group of grafted rats was compared with lesion-alone and control groups for motor bias, as assessed by tests of rotation induced by dopaminergic, cholinergic and GABAergic drugs, and of skilled paw reaching. Unilateral striatal lesions induced marked ipsilateral turning to apomorphine and methamphetamine, which was substantially ameliorated in the grafted rats. Atropine induced similar rates of moderate (but non-significant) ipsilateral turning in the lesion and graft groups, whereas muscimol and gamma-acetylenic GABA induced no turning bias in any group. The lesioned rats showed a strong bias in their preference to use the paw ipsilateral to the lesion when reaching for food pellets, and a decline in reaching success with both paws. The grafts did not influence the ipsilateral paw preference in this task, but did provide a substantial improvement in the animal's reaching accuracy and ability to retrieve food with either paw. The results indicate that striatal grafts can provide a substantial amelioration of motor impairments induced by striatal lesions. Moreover they suggest that the graft's influence on the host brain is itself under the functional regulation of an afferent dopaminergic input from the host brain.

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